CLAREMONT, Calif. (4/26/11)--Western CUNA Management School (WCMS) will celebrate its 50th anniversary--and its 3,500 graduates during five decades--with a special graduation celebration and conference July 20-21. Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney will serve as the 50th graduating class commencement speaker, and Google Vice President of People Operations Laszlo Bock will be featured as the conference keynote speaker. Other conference speakers will include long-time WCMS faculty members Martha Andresen, Harry Eggleton, Joe Melchione and David Tansey. Since first opening its doors on the UCLA campus in 1960 with 42 students, WCMS has helped prepare thousands of credit union management staff to become regional and national leaders for the credit union movement. “For the past five decades, WCMS has helped produce new generations of leaders deeply committed to credit union principles and the continued success of our movement,” said Bill Cheney. “By helping prepare tomorrow’s credit union leaders to carry on the mission, philosophy and ideals of the credit union movement, WCMS is playing a vital role in improving the lives of millions of credit union members.” “Every year graduating students report that WCMS profoundly changed their lives,” said WCMS President and Dean James Likens. “Some say they found a voice they had never before been able to express. Some say they realized for the first time that they are competent. Others say they feel a new connection to themselves, to others and to our movement.” Located at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., WCMS serves credit union employees from the participating credit union leagues of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. WCMS said its culture embraces high academic standards while emphasizing credit union philosophy. It stresses “head and heart”--understanding the best strategy and tactics while bringing passion and commitment to the service of credit unions and their allied institutions. WCMS shares a vision and purpose with its sister regional CUNA Management schools located at University of Wisconsin, University of Georgia, and Texas Christian University. WCMS’ program is held over three years, with two-week terms during consecutive summers. Students also complete two projects that analyze their credit unions. During the WCMS experience students organize class activities. Each class plans a fundraising social event for the entire school. The classes contribute the funds raised to WCMS for scholarships and enhancements.